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Friday Favorites #75
April 10, 2020

The Art of Freestyling in the Kitchen

"Crisis doesn't create character; it reveals it." — Denis Leary
Throwback of Teri freestyling in the kitchen

This week I was particularly delighted to launch our free e-book, Rise and Shine! I’m thrilled by how many of you are loving it. I’m grateful for my dedicated team. We worked so hard together to pull off this Herculean effort—you might say we freestyled it. Part of what a moment like this does is it teaches us about freestyle living and cooking.

Chicago, Illinois
Photo credit: Rachel Fiske, @therachely1

Freestyle cooking is preparing what you have on hand and using leftovers and other items to create something delicious that may be impossible to repeat. It’s a lot like the art we’re seeing outside. With everyone sheltering at home and people walking more than usual, the beautiful freestyle art people are sharing in their windows and on the sidewalks has touched my soul. We've been so inspired by it that we’re sprinkling it throughout this entire issue.

Today’s issue is all about finding the inspiration for the moment, of the moment. You’ll find few actual recipes this week, just lots of inspiration, because it’s all about making it up as you go. Buddha Bowls are a great example. What’s in a Buddha Bowl? Whatever you have on hand. Now is the perfect time to use your leftovers. I love to gently reheat leftovers and serve them on top of fresh or sautéed greens topped with Marinated Red Onions—and if you don’t have any, use some pickled jalapeños. Now is the time to remember things like hummus or babaganoush, and of course I love to top my creations with a poached, fried, or jammy egg.

Chicago, Illinois
Photo credit: Laura Holtz, @lauraholtzofficial

Tacos lend themselves to freestyling too. Just about anything can be a taco, whether you’re using corn tortillas, lettuce wraps, or rice paper, along with any protein you happen to have on hand. And always cook plenty of extra rice or noodles and have them ready to go in the fridge. At the last minute, you can sauté the pasta with olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes, and add things like sliced sautéed salami and olives.

New Orleans, Louisiana
Photo credit: Stephanie Preston-Barbe, @sprestonbarbe

You can also combine dinner leftovers with rice and heat it in the oven the next day, taking it up a notch by melting some cheese on top. Today I had a half pound of cooked halibut. I threw in some chopped onion, some breadcrumbs, and an egg, which combined to make a halibut cake. Although I normally use uncooked seafood and had never tried this before, it was pretty magnificent! Now is the time for deconstructed recipes, variations on a theme, and being inspired by what you have available.

Inspiration for the moment, of the moment—that’s what freestyle cooking and living are. Ideally, each brings a little sunshine into your life. I love seeing the inspiring handmade signs in windows or on porches and the beautiful ephemeral chalk messages on the sidewalk that fill your heart with hope. And frankly, who doesn’t need a little more of that?

Teri Turner, founder, nocrumbsleft™
Author:  No Crumbs Left, Recipes for Everyday Food Made Marvelous
Podcaster: nocrumbsleft Table Talks
Pottery Shop:

Chicago, Illinois
Artist: Heather Gentile Collins, @heathergentilecollins

Photo credit: Kate Jadwisiak, @kitchenk8 
Freestyling From This Week's Contributors
Freestyle Fridge Foraging
Stephanie Vanlochem's freestyle platter
Honestly, sometimes dinner can be a struggle. My favorite strategy is to start with an ingredient that needs to be used. This dish began with green beans on their way out. Then you build on that, getting inspired by what you have. Canned salmon, leftover asparagus, and the rest came together. You’ll find yourself pulling things out of the pantry to riff on a classic or create a new go-to. Sometimes it’s a home run; other times, it just gets the job done using what you have—and that’s satisfying too!
Stephanie Vanlochem, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner
San Marcos, California
Artist, 5-year-old Elli
Photo credit: Shona Borevitz-Solano, @bshona
Put an Egg on It!
Diane Morrisey's pasta creation

When freestyle cooking for my family of eight on a budget, I focus on simple, economic meals that use my freezer stash and pantry items. Soups and casseroles have been my go-to. Don’t underestimate the power of a dozen eggs! When in doubt, put an egg on it. Fridge-foraging frittatas and quiches have been on repeat. I’ve been pulling the meat off roast chicken breasts to make chicken-stuffed baked shells or chicken enchiladas. A large pack of ground beef makes stuffed peppers, a simple meatloaf, or a taco casserole. Pasta salads can be stretched using frozen veggies or cans of beans. 

Diane Morrisey

Loveland, Ohio
Photo credit: Julie Stewart, @stewcrew91
Pancakes For Dinner
Cristina Curp's Blender Batter Pancakes

Try these blender batter pancakes for a freestyle breakfast for dinner!
Option 1) 2 eggs + ½ cup nut or seed butter + 2 bananas 


Option 2) 1/4 cup flour of choice, 1/2 cup nut or seed butter, 1/4 cup protein powder, 3 or 4 eggs, 1/4 to 1/2 cup nut milk 
Blend until batter is thick and smooth. Add more milk to thin it out or more flour or nut butter to thicken as needed. Pour 1/4 cup per pancake into a hot skillet and flip when the edges look done, usually 2 minutes per side.
Cristina Curp, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner
Made Whole Made Simple

Creative Crumbles Share
How They're Freestyling
Seattle, Washington
Photo credit: Rachael Rosen, @rosen_rachael

Potato pancakes are great for breakfast. I use leftover mashed potatoes, or I mash leftover cooked potatoes along with eggs, a little flour, grated cheese, and a bit of chicken or other meat from dinner. I create a potato batter and fry them in the morning. Adding flour creates a firm mix, so it’s not a runny batter. I keep them small when I fry them, so they don’t fall apart. The kids love them.

A Favorite Friend

Brookfield, Illinois
Photo credit: Margot Weiss, @margsweiss

I have been making these three-ingredient cookies nonstop! All you need is 2 overripe bananas, 1 cup of oatmeal, and 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips. Mash the bananas, then add oatmeal and chocolate chips. Mix until combined and let sit for five minutes. Shape into cookies and bake at 350° for 12–15 minutes. They’re super easy, gluten-free, potentially vegan, and delicious!


Leesburg, Virginia
Photo credit: Dianne LaPlaine, @dlaplaine

I’ve been making a green sauce with a half cup of cooked lentils in it at the beginning of each week. No matter what you serve the sauce with during the week, you’re also getting a little extra protein.
Basic formula:
2 cups greens/herbs 
1/2 cup cooked green lentils 
Salt, pepper, and other seasonings, as desired  
A splash of lemon juice, or vinegar 
Mix in a food processor and adjust consistency as needed. Flavor with things like hot sauce, miso, or mustard.
Rachel Wendte

Burbank, California
Artist, 13-year-old Ava
Photo credit: Nicole Taylor

My daughter, Ava, is thirteen years old and had open heart surgery at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles when she was eight. Ever since then, she has had a yearly fundraiser to benefit the hospital. She sells her Love Rocks for $1 each. Our family helps paint them. We put these Love Rocks outside our house to make people smile and to spread some love.

Nicole Taylor

Waltham, Massachusetts
Artist, 7-year-old Michael Mayer
Photo credit: Rosaria Mayer

I made my own chunky almond butter because I can’t seem to find any right now. Super simple: grind a bag of almonds for ten minutes in the food processor. Throw in some chopped almonds at the end.  


Dyre, Indiana
Artists, 10-year-old Penny and 12-year-old Zaida
Photo credit: Jillian Schranz, @jschranz

I freestyled it and made a fancy sloppy joe with my own spicy sauce. I used a pound of ground beef, and I pureed some stewed tomatoes and a few additional squeezes of tomato paste, leaving some chunks for texture, then added salt and pepper. I added a tablespoon of the juice from a jar of pepperoncini. Then I added some jarred green tapenade, which had some anchovy, some caramelized onion chunks, a bit of garlic, and some sundried tomato and basil feta. I melted a little fresh mozzarella on it and toasted the focaccia rolls. It was an absolute hit!


Chicago, Illinois
Photo credit: Jessica Sopko, @jsopko512

I freestyle it and sauté a quarter head of cabbage and half a white onion in a pan together with butter or reserved bacon fat, just until it caramelizes and softens a bit. I add leftover protein, like a bit of pork chop, bacon, or roast chicken. It’s a total comfort food for me and reminds me of growing up, eating cabbage and noodles straight from the pot! It's the perfect quick meal to throw together with what I have on hand.
Michelle Arendas

Loveland, Ohio
Photo credit: Julie Stewart, @stewcrew91

In cooking for my extended family of 10, my Dutch Baby recipe has been a big hit in our breakfast rotation. It’s easy to make and uses basic ingredients. Preheat oven to 425° and place a stick of butter in a 9x13 pan in the oven while it preheats. Blend 6 large eggs, 1 cup milk, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Remove hot pan carefully from oven and pour in the batter without stirring. Bake 20—25 minutes or until center is set and edges are browned. Serve with maple syrup, powdered sugar, preserves, or whipped topping.
Rachel Bouman

Columbus, Ohio
Artist and photo credit:
Cecilia Martyna, @ccthesketchyartist

I knew that if I was feeling the effects of the quarantine, the families at the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus must really be feeling the isolation. With so few things we can do and still maintain social distancing, I asked if I could do a sidewalk chalk art.  It put smiles on the faces of the families and the caregivers and made me happy, too. Maybe it will inspire people to donate to this great charity as well.

This Week's Recipe

Here's my Taco Platter! In keeping with this week's freestyling theme, we are sharing this spectacular Taco Platter recipe. Change it up and freestyle it your way when you make it this week.

This Week's Giveaway

This week we are giving away a Patty Bowl in any color of your choice. Click below to enter. 

Click Here to Enter the Giveaway
This Week in the Shop

The store is stocked with Patty Bowls, Fred Bowls and Marinated Onion Bowls in all colors. Click here to view the shop.

Melbourne, Australia
Mairead Campbell

My Mum gifted me the No Crumbs Left cookbook, and it has been amazing. As the mum of a 5-month-old boy, Narvi, I have been looking for ways to improve my cooking for my little family, and this book has been fantastic! From my family to yours, thank you! 😊

Click Here to Order the Cookbook
This Week's Table Talks Podcast
Episode 3: The Good, Goodbye

Since the podcast is on hiatus, we're going back to some of our favorites. In episode 3, I talk with my dear friend Laurice Bell about the goodbyes we've made over a lifetime. Our first goodbye when we were 20, the ones with our college-aged children, goodbyes with our parents, as well as how some of these goodbyes led to new beginnings, and how happy we are to be in this together, supporting each other.  Please listen in, enjoy, and share with your friends. 

Listen on:

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Photo credit: Carol C, @cbcnola
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